By Harris Emanuel
UYO–Governor of Akwa Ibom State , Pastor Umo Eno has stated that failed politicians were the masterminds of the storm of protest in the state at the weekend over the installation of the President General of the supreme council of traditional rulers in Uyo, the state capital.
In a statement signed by him, the governor gave details of the process that led to the installation of the President General which he said was endorsed by all the traditional rulers from the 31 local government areas.
The governor explained that he was not part of the process as the the arrangement was made even before he bame the governor of the state as such should not accused of any wrong doings.
Eno warned that any attempt by politicians to whip up ethnic and parochial sentiment in a bid to destabilize the state would be rebuffed.
His words: “There are several insinuations and misunderstanding that is being created in the minds of the people by those who failed at the elections and they think they can turn around and divide the state by whipping up ethnic sentiments. That is not going to be possible under this administration.
“Before I came into office, the paramount rulers had met in a meeting amongst themselves. I was just a witness in that meeting.
“The 31 paramount rulers in the state, apart from those that were sick or deceased met and agreed that to enable Akwa Ibom to play a role in the national traditional rulers council…
“There was a need to elevate the traditional rulers council to now be called the Supreme Traditional Rulers Council headed by the President-General that they had for 4 years. I didn’t appoint him.
“And incidentally, the President-General is the Oku Ibom Ibibio. Along with him, they had a Vice President General 1 to be the Nkuku Annang, the chose Vice President General II to be the Ahta Oro.
“They said that would represent the Supreme Council of the Traditional Rulers for the purposes of playing at the national level. They now decided to rotate the chairmanship of the Traditional Rulers Council as it has always been. They did this without my interference.
“I’ll like any traditional ruler from any part of this state to stand up boldly and say he was not at that meeting.
“There was only one suggestion from the Paramount Ruler of Itu who said there should be a slight modification and that slight modification was well taken, creating the two other offices (VPG 1 and VPII).
“To make that possible, we needed to back it up by law. So when I came into office, we had to consult; the bill was sent to the House of Assembly to make it a law. The bill went to the House of Assembly and I understand there was a public hearing.
“The bill was passed and I came back yesterday and signed it to law. Doing that was just honouring the wishes of our traditional fathers. And I had expected them to call me and thank me for honouring what they wanted. I did not originate the bill. I did not have a part in that bill.
“So the issue of people who should have stood election and won coming through the back door to try and confuse Akwa Ibom people is completely not acceptable.
” I ran for election for the office of the governor of Akwa Ibom State for the Ibibios, for the Annangs, for the Oros, for everyone and I will respect that until the day I leave office.
“I’ll like our brothers to go back and ask their paramount rulers if they were there in the meeting, what did you say at that meeting, did you make objections at that meeting?
” Was Pastor Umo Eno at that meeting? So why are we trying to whip up ethnic sentiments that are not necessary? I want Akwa Ibom people to discountenance all what has been said.
“There is no Ibibio, there is no Annang, there is no oro, there is only one Akwa Ibom and I am the Governor of Akwa Ibom. And I must have courage as the governor to do what is right. And that is what I have done. We need to respect the wishes of our fathers.
“We must thank the House of Assembly for respecting the wishes of our royal fathers. I was told earlier this morning that some people led a protest. We know them. We know who they are, we know what they want to do but we will not allow them to do it.
“The time has passed where any group of persons think they will concentrate power in their hands and detect to a sitting governor what should happen in the state. I will be on the side of the people. Enough of allow politicians to hijack our traditional institution and mess it.
“I like to request that our traditional fathers should maintain the sanctity of their offices with their dignity. They should not allow politicians to take them for granted.
“The truth is that today, they are on your side, tomorrow they will ask that I remove you from office. That is what is beginning now, and if you accept this today, tomorrow when I remove you from office on the recommendation of politicians, please accept it also.
” My main concern is to allow your office to be magnified and dignified. “